Sophomore Taryn Mayfield hits away from Whitney Gordon?s outstretched arms.
Sophomore middle hitter Whitney Gordon directs a hard spike past blockers Tena Loewen (15) and Dakota Kaufman (20) and toward senior Andrea Bartel.
Marion senior Julia Zeiner soars to attempt a kill against Hillsboro in the opening match.
Franny Gotsch goes high for the spike attempt as Marion?s Chassidy Carlson goes up for the block attempt.
It was a tale of opposite beginnings and endings for the two Marion County high schools competing Saturday at the Mid-Central Activities Association preseason volleyball tournament in Lyons.
The happy ending went to the Marion Warriors, who knocked off the highly rated Hillsboro Trojans in the third-place match at the conclusion of a long day.
Earlier in the week, the Kansas Volleyball Association had selected the Trojans as the No. 1 team in Class 3A.
The Warriors? 25-20, 18-25, 25-16 win was the first victory over their intra-county rivals in seven years.
The two teams started the day in competition with each other in the opening round of pool play?with an opposite result. Hillsboro prevailed in the season debut for both teams, 25-22, 25-20, coming back from a 12-7 deficit in Game 2.
?The girls and I were disappointed,? Hillsboro coach Sandy Arnold said about the way the day ended. ?We really thought we should have been playing in the finals. That was pretty hard to swallow, especially for the seniors.?
For Hillsboro, a good day turned sour in the semifinals of bracket play. The format for the tournament began with four three-team pools. The top two teams from each pool advanced to an eight-team championship bracket.
Following their opening win against Marion in pool play, the Trojans pounded a Haven team decimated by graduation, 25-17 and 25-8 to advance as the Pool B winner.
The Trojans? string of two-game sweeps continued in their 25-19, 25-22 win over the host team in their quarterfinal match in bracket play.
The streak grew to seven straight games when Hillsboro defeated Smoky Valley by a comfortable margin in Game 1 of their semifinal match, 25-13.
Then the wheels fell off. The Vikings turned the tables on the Trojans with a 25-18 win, setting up a third game. Hillsboro had opportunities to win it, Arnold said, but let it slip away, 25-23.
?I?m not really sure what happened?I wish I had a good answer,? she said. ?We?re just going to go back to the drawing board and pick it up again. We don?t have time to sit and worry about it.?
The loss to the Vikings set up the consolation match with the Warriors. Arnold said she was disappointed with her team?s response to its loss to Smoky Valley.
?We just didn?t play our best,? she said about Marion?s two-game sweep. But she also complimented the Warriors? performance.
?They have good athletes, there?s no doubt about that,? Arnold said. ?I really do think they got better as the day went on. They got more confident and were adjusting to some lineup issues.?
Warriors coach Jim Versch said ?Marion was in better shape?everyone was tired, but I felt we were a bit more conditioned.?
?In the last game against Hillsboro we really began to take control of the game,? he added. ?Our setters were seeing the holes and getting the ball to the right hitters.?
Marion?s journey through the tournament took a positive turn with a 25-13, 25-23 win over Haven in the second match of pool play. The win qualified the Warriors for bracket play as the pool runner-up.
?I think our league is really wide open this year,? Versch said. ?Haven, Nickerson, Lyons and Hoisington are down.?
In the quarterfinals, Marion defeated Halstead in three games, 25-19, 16-25, 25-23. Wichita Collegiate then sent the Warriors to the third-place match by beating them in another three-game battle, 25-17, 23-25, 25-11.
Collegiate ended up as the tournament champion by beating Smoky Valley, 25-21, 25-16, in the finals. Hoisington claimed fifth place with a two-game win over Hesston, and Halstead claimed seventh by beating Lyons in two games.
Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to play El Dorado Tuesday night in a field that was to include the home team, Buhler and Mulvane. The Trojans? next match will be Sept. 8 at Hesston.
Marion will join the Trojans at Hesston that evening for the Warriors? first competition since the league tournament.